February 26 Crime Meeting Summary

March 1, 2018

By Katherine Keller

Newly appointed Milwaukee Police Department Interim Chief Alfonso Morales introduced himself, outlined his plans for the department, and then took questions at the Feb. 26, meeting at Bay View High School.

He emphasized his goal to redefine MPD’s role in the community by reestablishing closer ties between residents and the police. Referencing the days when beat cops knew the people in the area they patrolled, he said he wants to bring back trust with the public. He said he has already moved 60 non-operational duty officers back to the districts where they will patrol the streets in squad cars. He intends to up that to 100 officers by the end of summer.

“I want to bring community prosecutors to the district (District 6), community groups, and you too,” Morales said, in an effort to improve policing and community trust.

“We’re going to own up to our mistakes and communicate with you,” Morales pledged. He also noted that he would “be honest with (crime) data.”

He’s given MPD District 6 Captain Jeffrey Point six motorcycle officers. Point said he would use these officers for traffic control and making accident reports, freeing up squad car-based officers for other duties. The motorcycle police are on duty seven days per week from 7am to 11pm.

Bay View resident Janine Sijan said her houseguest’s car was broken into on S. Shore Drive, but that nothing was taken from the car. Sijan said two of her employees’ cars were broken into at the Hide House (Dover and Greeley streets), where Sijan’s business is located.

Captain Point noted that Bay View is still one of the safest Milwaukee neighborhoods. He said there has been an increase in stolen cars and vehicle break-ins in 2018, but robberies and burglaries are down.

Ana Veloz said she lives near the Hide House and has noticed an increase in crime in that neighborhood. She said she’s recently experienced five different crimes including from five stolen bikes, home burglary, and her car being vandalized in the past year. Five bikes were stolen from her yard on different occasions, she said, and thieves walked out of her home with a 50-inch flat screen TV.

Questioned about the double stabbing that took place Feb. 22 in the 3400 block of S. Kinnickinnic Avenue, Captain Point said that because the crime was still under investigation and charges had not been filed, he was not able to disclose details. He did say that the perpetrators knew one another and that they do not live in the Bay View community.

Two men, ages 20 and 22 were stabbed in the Feb. 22 incident. A 17- and an 18-year-old man were arrested shortly after the incident occurred. Point said he expected charges would be filed soon.

Point emphasized that the car vandalism and thefts in Bay View are also being committed by nonresidents.

Another audience member asked how prepared MPD is for an active school shooting. Morales said the department prepares for these events and expressed relief that Milwaukee has so far been spared. MPD responds to tips about potential danger reported by citizens who find threatening posts on social media. “We take social media [investigation-requests] very seriously and investigate,” he said.

Interim Chief Morales and Captain Point both served in the homicide division of MPD prior to their current positions.

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